DePaul (7-7, 1-0) trailed Marquette (8-5, 0-1) by 13 points with 11:46 remaining in the game, but fought back in the closing minutes to bring an end to a six game losing streak,
The turning point in the game was when DePaul sophomore guard Billy Garrett, Jr. took a charge from Marquette’s Luke Fischer with 4:31 to play in the game.
“Coach had been getting on us the whole time about taking charges,” said Garrett. “Everybody was looking to take one and I got the opportunity and I took it. The team kind of rallied behind that. From there we took off.”
Garrett led the Demons with 19 points on six of nine shooting from the field. Senior Jamee Crockett added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Turnovers proved costly to the Golden Eagles, who had 10 turnovers in the second half.
“I thought we had some really costly turnovers which led to their run outs and fast break points and they got momentum,” said Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski. “We had the opportunities at the end of half, midway through the second half where we needed to stretch the lead and we gave them life with our our sloppy play.”
The Blue Demons were pleased to end their losing streak and start Big East conference play off with a win.
“This one had particular significance because of the way we’ve been struggling over the last couple weeks and also because it was against Marquette, who is one of our oldest rivals,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell.
The Blue Demons managed to win despite being thin in the frontcourt. Starting center Tommy Hamillton IV was suspended for a violation of team rules before tipoff, which forced Purnell to go deep into his bench for help. That included enlisting the aid of seldom used walkon Joe Hanel. Hanel scored six points off the bench and grabbed two rebounds.
“Joe was forced into action and played great,” Purnell said.
DePaul managed to hold Marquette leading scorer Luke Fischer to six points and three rebounds and held the Golden Eagles to 38.6 percent from the field.
Duane Wilson and Matt Carlino led the way for Marquette with 11 points apiece in the losing effort.
The Blue Demons next host the Xavier Musketeers in a Big East conference matchup at 1 p.m. Central on Saturday.
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